Helium abundance in a sample of cool stars: measurements from asteroseismology

Kuldeep Verma, Keyuri Raodeo, Sarbani Basu, Víctor Silva Aguirre, Anwesh Mazumdar, Jakob Rørsted Mosumgaard, Mikkel N. Lund, Pritesh Ranadive

Helium abundance in a sample of cool stars: measurements from asteroseismology
See arXiv version
17 Pages, 9 Figures, 5 Tables, Accepted for publication in MNRAS


The structural stratification of a solar-type main sequence star primarily depends on its mass and chemical composition. The surface heavy element abundances of the solar-type stars are reasonably well determined using conventional spectroscopy, however the second most abundant element helium is not. This is due to the fact that the envelope temperature of such stars is not high enough to excite helium. Since the helium abundance of a star affects its structure and subsequent evolution, the uncertainty in the helium abundance of a star makes estimates of its global properties (mass, radius, age etc.) uncertain as well. The detections of the signatures of the acoustic glitches from the precisely measured stellar oscillation frequencies provide an indirect way to estimate the envelope helium content. We use the glitch signature caused by the ionization of helium to determine the envelope helium abundance of 38 stars in the {\it Kepler} seismic LEGACY sample. Our results confirm that atomic diffusion does indeed take place in solar-type stars. We use the measured surface abundances in combination with the settling predicted by the stellar models to determine the initial abundances. The initial helium and metal mass fractions have subsequently been used to get the preliminary estimates of the primordial helium abundance, \(Y_p = 0.244\pm0.019\), and the galactic enrichment ratio, \(\Delta Y / \Delta Z = 1.226\pm0.849\). Although the current estimates have large errorbars due to the limited sample size, this method holds great promises to determine these parameters precisely in the era of upcoming space missions.

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